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Sikorsky to Donate X2 to Smithsonian

By S.L. Fuller | October 21, 2016
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Photo courtesy of Sikorsky

Sikorsky is slated to donate its X2 high-speed demonstrator to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in ceremonies Oct. 27, R&WI has learned.

The aircraft is to go on public display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, after the private ceremonies hosted by the Lockheed Martin unit. 

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Sikorsky began work on the compound, coaxial-rotor helicopter a decade ago with internal research and development funds to demonstrate the design could fly at roughly twice the operational speed of a conventional helicopter. Hence the X2 designator.

The X2 first flew on Aug. 27, 2009, with Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck at the controls. Sikorsky achieved its main design goal a bit more than two years later, when Bredenbeck took the X2 to 250 kt in level flight on Sept. 15, 2010. The aircraft was retired in July 2011 after 23 flights as the company turned its attention to developing the high-speed S-97 military demonstrator based on X2 technology.

Sikorsky’s X2 work contributed to the U.S. Army’s decision to pursue development of a family of high-speed military rotorcraft and the Pentagon’s follow-on Future Vertical Lift program. Sikorsky is teamed with Boeing on the SB>1 Defiant contender for that program; the Defiant also draws on X2 research. 

X2 Technology was awarded the National Aeronautic Assn. (NAA) Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2010 on the award’s 100th birthday. It beat out other nominees, like Boeing, with its unmatched speed, its maneuverability and its utility. In addition to its rigid, counter-rotating main rotor blades, the X2 features an integrated auxiliary propulsion, active vibration control and fly-by-wire controls.

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